Tomorrow sees the publication of The Incredible Hulk: Last Call by Peter David and Dale Keown, a chance for both to revisit their most succesful collaboration and the work for which both are still best known in comics circles – especially as their incarnation of the Hulk informed the version recently seen in Avengers: Endgame.
This comic is set during that timeframe, with Bruce Banner believing his wife, Betty Ross, to be dead, though reconciled to that not directly being his own fault. Though it gives him a chance to think through his life, calling the suicide hotline where Betty used to work, and deciding whether or not he should take his own life – even if such a thing is possible.
And while it fits directly into David’s continuity – and that of Hulks past, it also has a nod to what would happen with the Hulk in Civil War II, but the whole ezercise is also given a futility to those who have read David and Keown’s Hulk: The End, the last time Marvel attempted to revisit the David/Keown Hulk magic with a final end-of-days storyline in which the Banner had tried to commit suicide many times, but as he put it then, he shot a gun into his moiuth and the Hulk spat the bullet out. That one-shot remains as powerful now as it was then, and it arguably informed the current Immortal Hulk run by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett and Paul Mounts.
But this ‘Last Call’ oneshot is a lesser work. A plethora of inkers provide and inconsistent take on Kewon’s pencils, with the ezpected Mark Farmer joined by Marc Deering, Walden Wong and Scott Hanna and the result is no where near as slick as one might have hoped for, and only towards the end, with a final battle and as David and Keown throw in a surprise visit to reflect days of Marvel yet-to-come, does the book start to resemble what the reader might have been trying to revisit.
Along the way, there are some moments to take with you. Such as Bruce Banner thinking about a World Without Hulk and where people’s lives may have been, Betty Talbot and children that never came to be, Rick Jones as a pop star rather than an intergalactic friend to the super heroes, and…
…President Thaddeus Ross. In the movies, he would make it to Secretary of State, rather than becoming the Red Hulk. In the current-day comics, he is in hell. Not sure which is worse. And as for Betty Ross…
Man, I thought the ‘Professor Hulk’ was meant to be clever?
The Incredible Hulk: Last Call is published by Marvel Comics tomorrow.
INCREDIBLE HULK LAST CALL #1
(W) Peter David (A/CA) Dale Keown
HULK LEGENDS, PETER DAVID & DALE KEOWN, REUNITE!
In his twelve-year stint on THE INCREDIBLE HULK, Peter David redefined the Green Goliath for generations of fans and creators. Artist Dale Keown drew some of that run’s most beloved and influential issues. Now the pair return to their incredible collaboration for a special oversized one-shot issue! Bruce Banner is tired of being the Hulk. Heck, he’s tired of being. But just when he’s about to lose all hope, a miracle occurs: a fight worthy of the Incredible Hulk.
Rated T+In Shops: Jun 05, 2019